I Don’t Have a Testimony Of…

That’s kind of an awkward phrase “I don’t have a testimony of.” What does that really mean? Sometimes it’s helpful to figure out your beliefs by looking at things you don’t. To switch things up this Fast and Testimony Sunday, I thought I’d share some things I don’t have a testimony of:

  • Stake Dances: awkward, pre-dating, pseudo-paired off social situations accompanied by terrible music, what’s to like? (I do have a testimony of the restorative power of root beer floats and other stake dance refreshments),
  • Ward Activities: I guess I’m just still lacking the social conversion that people need (I’m not saying we should abolish ward activities…I’m just saying that no one should question my spirituality if I skip one or two…or all of them…or peace out as soon as I’ve eaten (which to be fair means I’ve stayed a decent amount of time) and grabbed some cookies for the road),
  • Hours and hours and hours of Meetings: replace meetings with emails whenever possible, cut announcements, stick to an agenda and talk about people, not activities. Rather than just blabbing, use meeting time to reach out to those that feel unwelcome or need help (If we cut all the announcements from Church meetings, we could probably reduce Church to two hours. You can thank me later),
  • Tuesday night activities (Mutual): again, I don’t really have a deep, abiding love for the social aspect of Church, so Mutual wasn’t my fav (I mean, when we spent almost every week planning activities or playing basketball, can you blame me?),
  • Basketball: Church ball, or as a Tuesday night activity, or a regular ward activity that conflicts with FHE (yes, I know I just mentioned this, but my utter lack of belief in the saving power of basketball is so strong, that it deserves to be on here twice. At least. Probably like 8 times),
  • Scouting: while some people find extreme value in Scouting, I felt like it was typically an endless series of hoops to jump through, with little reward (besides the Pinewood Derby, which was the best. Especially taking second with my painted, unshaped block of wood),
  • EFY: to be fair, I never went. Except to the “Best of” and if that was the best they could do, praise everything that is holy that I didn’t go. (I mean, I love passing off flirting and dancing as spiritual growth as much as the next guy…ok, you’re right, we all know that’s not true. I loathe the pretense of spirituality that pervades the post-EFY pulpit testimonies, which morph into classroom tales of romantic conquests),
  • Cheesy music: EFY music primarily, but Hymns are unfortunately not exempt from the cheese factor (Sure EFY music saved me as a missionary from listening to MoTab all day every day, and for that I will always be grateful, but it could be so much better. Where’s the law that says all religious lyrics MUST be cheesy and laughable? Show me. More on this another day),
  • Extensive unwritten codes for the proper passing of the sacrament: When you’re so caught up in the proper way to pass that everyone in the congregation is watching your elaborate shuffling and re-shuffling, you’re doing it wrong (How can I think about Jesus when I’m so concerned about lining up perfectly according to height and birthday, while holding my arm at a perfect right angle? Too much to think about),
  • Unsourced General authority quotes: If you don’t know who said it and can’t find it in a quick google search, it’s probably too sketchy to share (And, I’m going to assume if you can’t remember who said it or find it, it’s made up. Just being honest),
  • The Church as a Corporate entity: Sure, the Corporate Church does lots of good and is probably inspired often, but that’s immaterial to my faith (Don’t get your knickers in a twist—the Church’s corporate self is distinct from its religious self, at least philosophically),
  • Human Infallibility: people make mistakes. Regardless of who they are. Expecting perfection may be a natural tendency, but it’s a damaging one. (So stop it. Like, now),
  • White shirts: a policy that seems to do more harm than good. Allowing well-intentioned members to prevent others from participating in the ordinance and less well-intentioned youth from dodging responsibilities (The symbolism is nice, but really, who cares? As long as you look your best and are dressed in a way that doesn’t draw undue attention to itself- hampering others spiritual communion, wear whatever. Is a blue shirt really worse than watching the weekly holy shuffle of the deacons? Really?),
  • Lacking Beards: first, this is unwritten. Second, why is spirituality linked with facial hair? (I’m all for beards. Yeah, they may make some people think of hippies and counter-culture, but is that such a bad thing? Not to mention how wise we would all be with bearded folk all around—Dumbledore, Gandalf…need I say more?)
  • Announcements: I mentioned this up above, but as the old camp song goes, announcements are a really horrible way to die. And there’s so much happening digitally, that we don’t need to say them before every block (Seriously, we could probably shave an hour off of Church by eliminating announcements. And who doesn’t want that?),
  • The Three-Hour Block: Let’s cut Church or redistribute it to make more time for family or personal communion with the divine (We’ve done different things before, so I’m all for experimenting),
  • Boredom: Church can be a real drag. The whole set-up is less than thrilling and could easily be shaken up to be a bit more engaging. Throw in some hallelujahs, maybe a praise band, food breaks, maybe even a poetry slam, get creative with it (Our cultural perspective on reverence would need to change, but you gotta start somewhere).

I do believe in God and in God’s divine love for me and all humankind (probably animals too, although I’m not quite sure about that). I believe that accessing that Love can be transformative for me and for how I view others. I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints helps me to access that Love in a unique way. I believe that scripture is a manifestation of that Love and that as true love does, it serves to comfort and challenge us. I believe that I can become like God, the more I embrace and exude divine love, the closer I will be.

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3 thoughts on “I Don’t Have a Testimony Of…

  1. Yes. Scouting, activities, EFY music…….this is wonderful.
    There’s a member of our bishopric who I have never once seen wear a white shirt. And I love it.

    Like

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